Saskatchewan has adopted new regulations relating to the safety of workers who are employed to work at late-night retail premises. The changes come following the death of Jimmy Wiebe, a gas station clerk who was shot and killed during a robbery at a gas station in June 2011, and increasing pressure from labour groups to strengthen Occupational Health and Safety laws to protect workers against violence.
The new regulations will come into force on January 1, 2013, making Saskatchewan only the second Canadian province to adopt specific regulations intended to protect late-night retail employees. These specific provisions are in addition to existing general obligations to create workplace violence policies, programs, and working alone obligations.
Employers of workers of late-night retails premises, such as convenience stores and gas stations, will now be mandated by law to conduct workplace hazard assessments of workplaces open to the public between the hours of 11:00 pm and 6:00 am. The assessments must be reviewed and revised every three years and whenever there is a change of circumstances that may affect the health and safety of workers.
In addition, the following security measures will need to be implemented:
- The development of written safe cash handling procedures;
- The use of video cameras that capture key areas in the workplace, including the cash desk and the outdoor gas pumps;
- The establishment of measures to ensure good visibility in and out of the premises, the placement of signage indicating limited accessibility to cash and valuables and the use of cameras.
Where one employee works alone during late-night hours, the employer must implement a check-in system and a written check-in procedure as well as provide a personal emergency transmitter to be worn by the employee that signals for help when activated.
British Columbia was the first jurisdiction in Canada to enact similar late-night retail safety regulations in 2008. In 2011, they amended the regulations to require the wearing of a personal emergency transmitter by late-night retail workers.
In Ontario, a private member’s bill was introduced to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to require employers who engage in the business of selling fuel at service stations to require customers to pay before fuelling. The amendments also would have required employers to provide training to employees involved in the sale of fuel at service stations and other retailers that sell fuel. It died on the order paper upon prorogation of the Legislature this fall.